Life’s Great Mysteries: Watching Anime Socially

So with 2012 upon us, let’s look at another one of life’s great mysteries. Today, I want to talk about watching anime in groups. From the general trend I see online, this may not be such a common trend, but I want to look at how this dynamic changes the experience of watching anime.

So for the most part, the anime I watch is watched alone in my room. However, sometimes I venture out of my cave on the outskirts of town and go to the meeting for my school’s anime club, which meets every week during the school year. Basically, they pick like 4-5 different series and show one or two episodes each week.

What does this end up looking like? 3 hours each week in a dark room with anime playing on a projector with about 20 people watching. Clearly, this is different than watching by myself. How is it different? Random outbursts of laughter become choruses of laughter and personal predictions are met with outcry or agreement.

I like the atmosphere watching with others and it’s nice to get immediate feedback about an episode, but I’m not a huge fan of waiting a week for an episode when I could so easily finish it myself. Still, I found myself greatly entertained when I watched No. 6 for a second time with everyone else.

I also find that watching with the anime club introduced me to shows I wouldn’t otherwise watch by myself, like Nabari no Ou and Outlaw Star (No. 6 and Nabari no Ou? What is it with this anime club and borderline BL?). I start to wonder if this is evidence of the social environment acting in a negative sense, numbing myself to problems I’d normally have with an old show like Outlaw Star or…a show like Nabari no Ou.

Let’s switch gears to a completely different dynamic. What about watching with just one other person or two other people, such as close friends or significant others? Although, I’ve never done this, I’m sure that plenty of people have. Does this add to the experience? Subtract from it?

In the end, maybe it boils down to a matter of preference. Even though writing this blog gives me fairly quick feedback on the episodes I’ve just watched (which is part of the reason I’m still writing), I find that watching with the anime club is still the same amount of fun.

So what’s your opinion? Am I nuts leaving my cave because anime is not meant to be a social experience? Or have you always felt the same, but never quite been able to gather the necessary human beings for such an event? If that’s the case, maybe something can be organized online. Not quite the same, but maybe it can make up for it a bit.

14 thoughts on “Life’s Great Mysteries: Watching Anime Socially”

  1. I think it really comes down to the preference of a person. Anime could be enjoyed both ways, either with or without people. As for myself I’ve also done both (pretty much often) and I can say that it isn’t all that weird to do.
    I’ve also tried getting people into anime by showing something that may possibly interest them, usually with succes. So for more reasons, it could be fun to watch it with more. But if a person just wants to enjoy his anime in silence, that’s ok too right?
    Great article ^^


    1. I find that I usually have a hard time giving out recommendations to others. But when I end up doing it, it usually turns out okay (maybe because of all the time I spend looking for the right thing).


  2. I’ve discovered anime too late to join such school clubs. Anime fruition in my case is an individual experience for the most, I think you’re lucky to have such an opportunity to share your interests in group.

    Later on I went to both anime events and film festivals but the screening of anime series are limited. It’s more easy to gather an audience with a movie like “Grave of the Fireflies”, that you can watch in one shot in a cinema, than with a series like “No. 6”, even if it’s relatively short. It’s not a matter of preference but of organization and I think it’s a good rule to follow.

    About your question of watching anime with smaller groups I’ve two examples.
    1) I’ve watched Last Exile with my nephews. Since it’s one of my favorite titles, I enjoyed to watch their reaction at any turning point and they appreciate to start with a new episode any time we see each other since they like the show too.
    2) Another time I was caught in my cave by a childhood friend of mine in the middle of a self-imposed Evangelion marathon. I was so focused that I convince her to watch some episodes of the show. That was an unique experience and became a fond memory of both.

    End of the answers, begin of the questions. 🙂 I’m curious about those anime clubs: how do you choose the anime for screening? Are there a vote or some people impose their titles to others? It’s not difficult to choose a title or an author?


    1. So what usually happens at the clubs is that the officers pick two series that they want to watch and those get thrown in. Then they give 4 series to everyone else and they vote for two of them (these series usually come from recommendations via email before the meetings). Then, every week they have what’s called a grab bag, where they show only the first one or two episodes of a couple of series. This brings a bit of variance to each week.


  3. I have mainly watch anime alone, it doesn’t have a negative affect on me but it seems cool to watch anime with a group of people to give a new experience.
    I wanted to join the anime club last year but it got cutted by lack of members, I was too shy to come in and say to the adviser “I want to join the ANIME CLUB.”
    So that’s that.

    Sometimes I would watch a few anime episodes with my little sister and I guess it isn’t bad to watch an anime that we both like and enjoy.


  4. I still prefer to watch anime alone, it’s for me just a moment to relax after a tiring work day!
    But still it would be nice to try once with some friends…


  5. It’s good to come out of the cave every once in a while, even if it is just to go into another cave with an anime party in it. 😛

    I watch anime with my brother when I’m on holidays, I managed to get him to watch Squid Girl. I had to force him to watch the first episode but after that he loved it. So that proves that by watching anime with a person or group of people can make you enjoy anime you normally wouldn’t consider.


  6. It is fun to watch an anime with a group of people. Laughing and telling your thoughts about the anime really helps. Sometimes you don’t understand a bit about the anime, so there is friend for you to help you out. There is also a time where you would probably miss some details in the anime, but your friend noticed it.

    It really makes you a less otaku then you really are. I sometimes watch animes with my cousin and even my uncle. It is really fun to watch together. Sadly that doesn’t happen a lot. I mostly watch my anime in a room on my own with my imaginary ‘air’ friend.


  7. Stupid anime is even funnier when you watch it with close friends. Normally, I wouldn’t touch shonen anime like Fairy Tail, but a normally boring experience becomes hilarious when I watch it with my best friend.

    Other anime that requires concentration I’d rather watch it alone. Fate/Zero, for example.


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